Creating a Meaningful Learning Environment: Reflection in Leadership Education

This article examines the use of a book discussion as an instructional tool for developing leadership exploration competency skills in university students, as it pertains to the study of women and leadership. A book discussion centered on Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In was held as a means to conceptualize discourse regarding leadership issues in the arena of women and leadership in a multidisciplinary campus wide symposium. In an effort to assess the effectiveness of such a program to learn about leadership issues, student commentary was collected during the discussion via an audio recording device. A qualitative exploration of the resulting commentary focused on this initiative as an effort to provide insight into the efficacy of book discussions as a best practice for facilitating the engagement of students in the exploration of leadership issues. As leadership educators seek to develop pedagogical tools that catalyze transformative learning, research regarding tools and methods by which faculty equip students to explore leadership becomes increasingly critical.